Label code

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The Label Code  (LC) is a unique four- to eight-digit number (example: LC 12345), by the German Collecting Society for Performance Rights  (GVL) at the request of members and free for the labeling of recordings will be given. Each registered record label has its own label code, which was introduced by the GVL on May 1, 1976 and later in 1977 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry  (IFPI) for the error-free identification of the various record labels. Sound carriers that appear under such a label bear the corresponding code as an imprint. In the case of use in a radio or television broadcast, the broadcaster can use the label code to bill the label with the GVL.


A label code is only issued by GVL after it has been published for the first time. However, there are several ways to get an LC.

  1. The simplest is the way described below: Takeover of the LC of the press shop (keyword: assignment of ancillary copyrights ).
  2. After pressing a CD, for example, an application for an LC including a specimen copy of the sound carrier is sent to the GVL. After the LC has been processed and issued, GVL sends stickers with the LC issued to the applicant. The LC can only be used permanently from the second production onwards.
  3. In consultation with the GVL, members of the Association of German Musicians (VDM) can receive their own label code from the VDM. This is also possible before the first pressing of a CD.
  4. If you don't want to start your own label, but need an LC to publish songs and are a member of the German Rock and Pop Musicians Association. ( can claim the possibility of an immediate use of the LC 08248 of the in-house Rockwerk Records. In return, Rockwerk Records retains the GVL royalties recorded at the time of publication and forwards them to the DRMV, which uses them for its statutory club activities. The DRMV member has to forego related GVL income. Source: DRMV license agreement for the label code.
  5. If the first publication of a label should have a circulation of at least 3,000 physical sound carriers, the GVL will issue a provisional label code. The prerequisite is the submission of the order confirmation from the press shop. The publication then printed with the provisional LC will be submitted to the GVL as a specimen copy.

Possible abuse

Income from the broadcasting of musical works in public broadcasters is allocated based on the label code and remunerated by GVL as part of the exploitation of ancillary copyrights. Unknowing musicians who would like to have productions produced by themselves and mostly in small runs (from 500 pieces) are often offered by the press shop they contact to use their label code.

With the consent to take over the third-party label code, however, there is usually a tacit assignment of the ancillary copyrights from the artist to the press shop, which alone receives remuneration from GVL without any provision for a share payment. In addition, both the application for a label code and the necessary contract with GVL are free of charge. Such cases can constitute fraudulent misrepresentation .

Serious pressing plants offer their customers - but only if income can be expected from the label code - mostly a distribution less a portion of the costs for their own administrative expenses, which artists save by using the label code.

Web links

  • Website of the Society for the Exploitation of Ancillary Rights (GVL)
  • Label research of the society for the utilization of ancillary copyrights (GVL)
  • Label codes on the website


  1. On older publications the label code was given as four digits. Since the 1990s these have been given five digits by adding a leading 0, i.e. H. LC 0309 (old) and LC 00309 (new) stand for the same label .

Individual evidence

  1. The history of the GVL ( Memento from August 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  2. IASA Cataloging Rules - 8: Numbers and terms of availability - 8.0. Introduction. In: International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA), accessed February 25, 2016 .
  3. ↑ Establish and operate a label ; VDMplus, accessed on February 6, 2012